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Intelligence, IQ, the Flynn Effect

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Notes from "What Is Intelligence?"


"The huge Raven's gains show that today's children are far better at solving problems on the spot without a previously learned method for doing so." (WII p19)


"Greenfield (1998) argues that video games, popular electronic games, and computer applications cause enhanced problem solving in visual and symbolic contexts; ... Johnson (2005) points to the cognitive demands of video games, for example, the spatial geometry of Tetris, the engineering riddles of Myst, and the mapping of Grand Theft Auto." (WII p43)


"Since middle-class mores and aspirations have reduced family size, a higher percentage of children are first-born and are going to have more cognitive and analytic interests. If that is so, enhanced cognitive skills become a prerequesite for performing like a good parent. Parents will have to take their children's "hypothetical" questions seriously, that is, answer rather than dismiss the eternal string of "whys" to which children are prone." (WII p43)


"TV aims at a mass audience and, therefore, its level of cognitive complexity is based on an estimate of what the average person can assimilate. Johnson shows convincingly that today's popular programs make unprecedented cognitive demands." (WII p43-4)


"There is no doubt that g is a good predictor of academic performance and quickness to profit from on-the-job training in many work roles. It sets effective IQ thresholds for various jobs and few who score below them will get those jobs. These thresholds rise as the cognitive complexity of work increases, ranging from skilled worker up to the elite professions." (WII)


"Heavily g-loaded IQ tests predict about 25 percent of the variance in academic success and on-the-job performance.... there is a long history of trying to measure personality traits ... there is no doubt that such traits are important. Duckworth and Seligman gave 164 Amercian children an IQ test at the beginning of eighth grade (age 13).... To test their ability to delay gratification, they were give a dollar bill in an envelope: they could either open it or give it back unopened a week later and get two dollars. The results show that children's capacity for self-control has twice the weight of IQ in predicting their grades." (WII)


Reproductive patterns cost U.S. 1 IQ point per generation (WII p101)


Avg IQ points gained since 1947 (WISC, WAIS, Stanford-Binet) = 0.3 (WII p112)


In 1998, due to slow norming and Flynn effect, all 50 states reported that there school children were above the norm in IQ. (WII p114)


"Forty years ago, Nathaniel Weyl (1966, 1969) called Chinese Americans part of 'the American natural aristocracy.' Chinese Americans had three to five times their proportionate share of college faculty, architects, scientists, school teachers, engineers, and physicians, and fell behind whites only where political connections count -- lawyers and judges -- and in sub-professions like nursing and the clergy.... In 1985, the upper 70 percent of Asian 18-year-olds took the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and matched the upper 27 percent of whites ... The number of Asian Americans at prestige universities was staggering. Asian Americans were just over 2 percent of the population, and yet, the 1984 entering class had 9 percent Asians at Princeton, 11 percent at Harvard and Stanford, 19 percent at the California Institute of Technology and Berkeley. By 1987, the percentages were even higher: 14 percent at Harvard, 16 percent at Stanford, 20 percent at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 21 percent at Cal Tech, 25 percent at Berkeley, and this despite accusations that admissions quotas had been introduced to limit their numbers. The famed Juilliard School of Music has consistently had a student body 25 percent Asian."

(WII p115,116)


When IQ tests are normed versus contemporary standards, Asian Americans IQ difference should probably be put about 3 points. (WII p122)


"By 2002, the mean IQ of black American children aged 4 had risen to 95.4. This puts them less than 5 points below white 4-year-olds at 100. However, by the age of 24, blacks lose fully 12 points and sink to 83.4, almost 17 points below whites. In other words, they lose 0.60 points per year as they age." (WII p123)


"The saddest consquence of obsolete norms is when they lead to the execution of someone who ought to be exempt from the death penalty. Today, those classified as MR are held not to be responsible for their actions. They usually need an IQ of 70 or below to be classified as such and if being scored against obsolete norms inflates their scores, they are at risk.... In Walker v. True (2005), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that in applying this standard, the 'Flynn Effect' had to be taken into account if it could be shown that it had affected the defendant's IQ score." (WII p131)

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